Saturday, September 14, 2019

1035. Ruins - Linda Pastan


.
We picnic by these bleached ruins
a few miles from the village
where we bought this rough
bread and cheese, this bottle
of wine shaped
like a Cycladic goddess.
Nearby is Homer’s Aegean
where bathers in their sculpted
flesh, their beauty, might have been
the models for the limbs
now broken, the faces
fallen from the frieze
of this temple whose ruins
we love because they show
how life is both continuous
and brief and must
be honored with good wine,

with bread and cheese.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

1034. I Love To See You - James Laughlin


in the box of paperclips on by desk
it’s a good place for you because I

can look at you when I’m telephoning
or typing a poem or putting poems in-

to the copy machine to send to maga-
zines that don’t want them    I tried

putting you in the little ormolu
frame where the daguerreotype of

great-grandmother Henrietta used to
be but it didn’t suit    you looked

too formal (you have lovely manners
but thank heaven you aren’t formal)

so I pushed up the paperclips in the 
box and leaned you against the heap

it can’t be very comfortable ( paper-
clips are harder than hay) but you’re

smiling away as if you loved it    I
hope you’re also smiling because you

love me so much you don’t care where
I keep you even in the paperclip box.



Her Reply

I like my picture to be in the box
where you keep your paperclips    I

imagine that when you reach for a
clip you are reaching out for me

it’s a gesture you’ve made a thou-
sand times (whenever you’ve needed

a clip) but now I hope it has be-
come different    given a new mean-

ing by my image    does the movement
of your hand now plead more for me

than thought or memory can    even
at this distance I feel the touch

of your fingers    do they feel they
are touching me    or must I become

again only the icon of my everyday
self as ordinary as your paperclips?



Sunday, August 25, 2019

1033. It Happens To Those Who Live Alone - David Whyte

It Happens To Those Who Live Alone - David Whyte

It happens to those
who live alone
that they feel sure
of visitors
when no one else
is there,

until the one day 
and one particular
hour
working in the 
quiet garden,

when they realize
at once, that all along 
they have been 
an invitation
to everything
and every kind of trouble

and that life
happens by
to those who inhabit
silence

like the bees
visiting
the tall mallow
on their legs of gold,
or the wasps
going from door to door
in the tall forest 
of the daisies.

I have my freedom
today
because
nothing really happened

and nobody came
to see me.
Only the slow
growing of the garden 
in the summer heat

and the silence of that
unborn life
making itself
known at my desk,

my hands
still
dark with the
crumbling soil
as I write 
and watch 

the first lines
of a new poem,
like flowers
of scarlet fire,
coming to fullness
in a new light.





Thursday, July 04, 2019

1032. Mindful - Jane Oliver

.
Every day
I see or I hear
something
that more or less

kills me
with delight 
that leaves me
like a needle.

in the hay stack
of light. 
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?




Saturday, May 25, 2019

1031. Block - Linda Pastan

.
I place one word slowly
in front of the other.,
like learning to walk again
after an illness.
But the blank page
with its hospital corners
tempts me.
I want to lie down
in its whiteness
and let myself drift
all the way back

to silence.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

1030. EXERCISE - W. S. Merwin

.
First forget what time it is
for an hour
do it regularly every day

then forget what day of the week it is
do this regularly for a week
then forget what country you are in
and practice doing it in company
for a week
then do them together
for a week
with a few breaks as possible

follow these by forgetting how to add
or to subtract
it makes no difference 
you can change them around
after a week
both will help you later
to forget how to count

forget how to count
starting with your own age
starting with how to count backward
starting with even numbers
starting with Roman numerals
starting with fractions of Roman numerals
starting with the old calendar
going on to the old alphabet
going on to the alphabet
until everything is continuous again

go on to forgetting elements
starting with water
proceeding to earth
rising in fire  


forget fire

Friday, March 08, 2019

1029. Swift Things Are Beautiful - Elizabeth Coatsworth

.
Swift things are beautiful:
Swallows and deer,
And lightning that falls
Bright-veined and clear,
Rivers and meteors,
Wind in the wheat,
The strong-withered horse,
And runner’s sure feet.

And slow things are beautiful:
The closing of day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles,
The opening flower,
And the ox that moves on

In the quiet of power.